So, cautionary sperm whale, I guess. And there are more than a few cervixes (cervixii?), and the word ‘effluvia’ gets several times and never failed to gross me out. Also, if abortion bothers you, that’s sort of The Point here, so heads-up 7-up.
In my head I had sort of filed Irving under The Dudes What I Do Not Like, Due To Their Excess of Old-Boy-ness (see also: Roth, Philip; Updike, John) and was therefore surprised by how sweet CHR is. Homer Wells is an orphan at St Cloud’s where Dr Larch secretly performs abortions because it is the 20s and that is still illegal. Homer Wells is adopted out and returned several times before it becomes apparent that Homer Wells will be a permanent fixture at St Cloud’s, until maybe twenty years later when Wally and Candy roll up with their unwanted fetus and roll away with their new pal, Homer Wells.
Before long, Homer Wells is secretly digging on Candy while still being Great Pals with Wally and this is why people keep shoe-horning love triangles into their novels. It’s like seeing Heidi Klum with bangs and being like, I would look awesome in bangs.
Just because Irving’s love triangle is like unto La Klum’s face-curtains doesn’t mean you should try it at home. Because you will try to make it LOVE TRIANGLE CENTRAL when it should be quietly running in the back, permeating and slightly ruining everything while your eyes are elsewhere.
And maybe I’m used to people being more dancey around Issues but it surprised me how much of this book was all So! Abortions. Ok or not ok? Fetuses! Soulless or be-souled? It asked Big Questions in a way that was literally asking those questions and I dug it.
I’m doing a terrible job of this. I always feel a bit floppy reviewing Established Authors and Their Oldish Books. Nothing really happens and it is long and entrenched and I found it darkly charming. The End.
Oh yes, eight caterpillars.